Vitali Klitschko says “I sent Lennox Lewis into retirement”
By Dave Lahr: In the latest boxing news, Ukrainian Vitali Klitschko is taking credit for sending former IBF/WBC heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis (41-2-1, 32 KO’s) into retirement following their fight in June 2003 seven years ago. Klitschko’s face was nearly ripped apart in that fight and he was taking vicious shots in the 5th and 6th rounds from huge uppercuts from Lewis. The referee Lou Moret stopped the bout after the 6th round, thankfully, to save Vitali from taking even more punishment to the face. Klitschko had this to say about Lewis in East Side Boxing’s On the Ropes Boxing Radio program yesterday: “If we talk about the retirement of Lennox Lewis, I am more than sure I sent Lennox Lewis into retirement. Lennox Lewis was smart enough to make the decision to announce his retirement before somebody beat him.”
Baloney! Lewis retired because he was 38, and had accomplished everything that he wanted to. Lewis cleaned out the heavyweight division, beating Mike Tyson, Vitali, David Tua, Hasim Rahman, Tommy Morrison, Andrew Golota, a young Shannon Briggs, Ray Mercer, Oliver McCall, Francois Botha, Donovan “Razor” Ruddock and Tony Tucker. There was no one left for Lewis to fight at that point, and the money that he would have made in a rematch with Klitschko, who was just then starting to build a fan base in the U.S, would have paled in comparison to the money that Lewis made in his fights with Holyfield and Tyson.
There really wasn’t any reason, in terms of dollars and cents, to fight a rematch with Klitschko when Lewis had already proved himself to be the superior fighter with his power. The money wouldn’t have been big enough for Lewis to waste his time with a rematch and he was already fabulously rich from the Holyfield and Tyson fights. He didn’t need the money anymore and there wouldn’t have been huge money to fight a rematch with Klitschko. The thing of it is, Lewis wasn’t even in the best of shape when he Klitschko. He was a heavy 256 and looked like he hadn’t trained hard, yet he was able to rip Vitali’s face apart with his huge right hands and uppercuts.
Lewis says he would have stopped Klitschko in the upcoming rounds had the referee not stopped the fight in the 6th, and in a rematch, an in shape Lewis would have torn Klitschko apart with his shots. If Lewis, who hit harder than Vitali, didn’t take him out with a single shot, he would have ripped Vitali’s face apart again with his big shots, especially with all the scar tissue around Vitali’s face after their previous fight.